Photos by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Duane Banks Fields 960 Stadium Dr Iowa City, IA 52242
Year Opened: 1974
Hawkeyes on the Diamond
Duane Banks Field, originally the Iowa baseball field, opened in 1974 when Duane Banks was the manager. The Hawkeyes went on to tie for the Big Ten Conference that season with an 11-4 conference record. Banks was a legendary coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team, taking over in 1970 and remaining head coach until the end of the 1997 season. Banks compiled an 810-575-4 record in his tenure at Iowa and led the Hawkeyes to their only College World Series appearance in 1972. In 2001, the Iowa baseball field was renamed Duane Banks Field. Hawkeye baseball alums include Jim Sundberg, Mike Boddicker, and Wes Obermueller.
Upgrades have been made to the stadium over the years including stadium chair back seats behind home plate in order to entice season ticket holders. Wooden bleachers were replaced with metal bleachers on either side of the stadium seats and fencing and drainage were also improved. Lights were installed in 2002, and paid for by a donation by former Hawkeye and major league pitcher, Cal Eldred. More recently, a new video board was installed over the left field wall.
The next phase will include more stadium seating and a new press box.
Food & Beverage 3
Currently, only credit cards are accepted. Duane Banks Field just covers the basics. Hot dogs, brats, and walking tacos along with nachos, popcorn, pretzels, candy, and ice cream are available and range from about $3-$6.
Coke products are the soda of choice, with bottles being $4. A relatively new addition to the menu is beer, which can be had for $7.
With some quality restaurants in the area, you’re better off just having a snack and something to drink and taking in the good eats around town before or after the game.
The ballpark is aesthetically pleasing. The field is well manicured and trees line your view beyond the outfield wall. Stadium seating is below the press box but is largely for season ticket holders. Until the planned upgrades are made, bleacher seating makes up the rest of the ballpark. There are no bad views anywhere in the ballpark.
During the game, Herky the Hawk makes the rounds entertaining fans and getting them involved in the game, while cheerleaders entertain the crowd between innings. The Hawkeyes have hit on the right balance of in-game entertainment without overdoing it.
Duane Banks Field is located amongst the other sports stadiums on the University of Iowa campus and, frankly, there is nothing to see. However, there is plenty to do and see in Iowa City, all within a few miles of the sports stadiums. If you are looking for somewhere to have a drink before or after the game, the Vine Tavern and Eatery and the Wig and Pen Pizza Pub are directly across Second Street. Wig and Pen offers up some great pizza (go with the thin crust) and the fried pickles are highly recommended.
For those that like the outdoors, there are plenty of parks as the Iowa River runs through Iowa City. The scenery is gorgeous and while plenty of people are out enjoying the weather, the parks don’t seem overcrowded. Less than two miles east are a couple places definitely worth seeing. The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History and the Old Capitol Museum are downtown. The Old Capitol Museum, built in 1840, was where Iowa made the transition to statehood. The old building is well worth seeing and the architecture is tremendous. The Natural History Museum is great for kids. Both have free admission and are well worth a look.
Directly across the street from the Old Capitol Museum is The Airliner Bar. The Airliner has a tremendous atmosphere, plenty of televisions for sports of all kinds, and daily food and drink specials. Airliner has been around for 70+ years, so it’s no surprise to always find it busy.
There are plenty of hotels in the area, with the Hampton Inn being the recommended choice.
An overwhelming majority of fans wear something black or gold (University of Iowa colors) at the games. If you don’t wear those colors, you will certainly stand out in the crowd. The fans are pleasant to any fans of the visiting team. Herky gets the crowd going early and the fans are engaged throughout, which adds to the college baseball atmosphere. There is usually a good mixture of both students and other fans in attendance.
The field is located a couple miles off I-80. Parking is free and there is plenty of it when there aren’t other bigger sporting events going on concurrently. Duane Banks Field is easy to get in and around. The walkways at the bottom of the seating bowl are wide and there are no problems maneuvering around the seating bowl.
Restrooms are an issue. They are located on the third base side, are not overly large, and could use some upgrades. They are handicap accessible. Much like the concessions, you may be standing in line for a while, but they have added some portable toilets to help a bit.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children. Parking is free. While concessions are a little on the high side, you can still take in a game for a very reasonable price and see some quality college baseball.
Herky’s Locker Room has a stand behind home plate. Here, you can buy Iowa Hawkeye shirts, hats, and other Hawkeye merchandise.
Kind of a fun promotion, each time a visiting player strikes out, t-shirts are thrown into the crowd.
When one thinks of Hawkeye sports, baseball may not be the first sport that comes to mind. The Hawkeyes are building a successful program and Banks Field and a fun town with a lot of different options makes for a quality experience in Iowa City.